SANTA CLARITA, California – Four goals from Brett Croft helped earn Santa Clarita Storm an 8-0 win in their home opener at Golden Valley high School over Banning FC on Sunday for their second game of their United Premier League Season (UPSL).
Croft opened his scoring right away when the ball was started by Jose Esquivel to the lighting fast Zach Klindworth down the left side who passed to an awaiting Croft who scored. The fast score was needed after being plagued by extremely slow starts Storm (4 points, 1-0-1) finally jumped out to an early lead scoring in the 3rd minute of the match as they were on their way to a dominating performance over a team not on the same level as themselves.
The hosts never let the contest get close as their defense worked well giving a dominating performance only allowing three shots on goal from a 4-4-2 formation that had Scott Landon on the back line with Juan Camacho. This set up enabled the Storm to score in the 37th minute as Klindworth fired a shot off his left foot past the keeper.
Storm attacked aggressively denying Banning FC (0 points, 0-1-0) possession of the ball controlling the game imposing their will showing they are a level or two above this opponent. In the 41st minute Croft easily beat the keeper after getting a pass from Nelson Peraza then added one more to end the first half of the match leading 4-0.
For the hat trick Croft scored on a penalty kick that was given after a Bannning FC player brought down a Storm player in the box. To finish off his own personal Storm game scoring record Croft netted one more goal in the 55th minute giving himself four goals for the game with his previous single match high of two goals he had recorded multiple times.
With the match in had the Storm changed their tactic going to a 3-5-2 formation moving Scott Landon from the back line to the midfield as he adds an attacking presence scoring the final goal of the night charging up volleying a rebound past the keeper to end the Storm’s scoring in the 63rd minute of the match.
This was the biggest margin of victory for Storm as they have only played a handful of times this there inaugural UPSL season. The UPSL has seen this type of disparity in the past when La Maquina previously beat Banning FC 10-1 and La Maquina winning 9-0 over OC Crew last season in League matches.
“We needed this boost to get everyone excited and ready to take on the rest of the season. This game was crucial for our team (Storm) to get some momentum going into the season and everyone contributed in different ways that helped us get the victory,” said Croft, Storm striker. “The opponent was a young group and will benefit from the experience in the future but were not up to the level at the moment.”
Storm will now see if they can continue their hot start to a match travelling to Thousand Oaks for their next match against FC Hasental next Sunday May 23. FC Hasental (0 points, 0-0-0) will be playing their first game of the UPSL season.